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Interview With Zoe Burns-Shore

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Quick Fire Working Mother Interview With Zoe Burns-Shore

Formerly a board-level marketer at one the busiest agencies in Northern England, Zoe is Head of Brand and Marketing at first direct. The role is wide ranging, and as part of the leadership team she has a good deal of profit-and-loss responsibility as well as day-to-day brand management. It’s a role that allows her to be creative, talk a lot, lead people and help the business grow.


What were or are the biggest challenges you faced going back in to the work place after children?

Learning to manage the juggling act that all working mums have to deal with along with the guilt of feeling like your leaving your children to be looked after by someone else.

How do you achieve your work life balance of career woman and mother?

The honest answer is that some days I don’t, but I’m incredibly lucky that first direct allow me to be very flexible with my time, so can start and finish work at times that work for me and I can work from home. Plus, we have a take two weeks of our holiday at once at least once a year, that really gives you proper downtime. You just become very adept at using the time you have wisely – I use my commute to think things through and often have my best ideas in the shower! I also have an awesome partner who is incredibly supportive and who I couldn’t manage any balance without.

If you could give your past self-one piece of advice about being a working mother what would it be?

Don’t beat yourself about not doing everything perfectly – something 80% is good enough and no one notices your skirting boards aren’t clean apart from you (and maybe your Mum).

Have your career goals and aspirations altered since becoming a working mother from that prior to your children?

Not really – I’m just a bit more relaxed about how I get there now.

What are your future goals in your career path in the next few years, what do you hope to achieve?

My future goals are to keep developing myself and keep learning – that could take me in any number of directions. In the medium term I hope to leave the first direct brand in an even stronger position then when I started.

If you had the power to change one thing in the business market for working mothers, what would you change?

That we stop talking about working mothers and start talking about working parents.

What is the best piece of business advice you have been given?  

Never sell out, the minute you do you’ll be miserable. Fight for what you believe in.

If you could recommend one book to our readers leisure or business what would it be?

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

Question from previous interviewee Kay Mellor. As a working mother, you must do a lot of giving emotionally and spiritually. Who gives to you?

Gosh, now there’s a question. I think you have to take your emotional and spiritual support from a whole variety of places. Obviously my family give me a huge amount, but also things like the excitement of my team when they are working on something that really motivates them, being able to solve business challenges that make things easier for our people and our customers, or even just the sun shining through my car window on the way to work. One of my biggest strategies is meditation. I started meditating a few years ago and now do two sessions a day in the morning and the evening – I find it help keep my balance.

What question would you wish to ask our next working mother who takes this short interview?

Would you define yourself as a working mother?

Read Kay Mellors working mother interview here.

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